Once upon a time there were humans. Groups of people whom traded, not for something without intrinsic value, such as money, but for things of actual worth. From fruits, veggies, and grains, to hand carved flutes, hunting gear, clothing and more. People were good at making/growing things and trading them for other essentials and commodities of life.
Nowadays everyone’s caught up in the hustle bustle of making money…get rich or die trying… so they can do what they love, many saving for material things but others saving to one day travel the world.
A lot of people out there feel like traveling is this giant expensive thing that only rich people do. Although traveling can be ridiculously expensive, it can also be free. Well, maybe not 100% free, but if you’re ninja enough you could probably get pretty close. This guy traded a red paperclip for a house. So how does one travel with nearly no money?
Trade to Travel the World!
This mode of travel is definitely not for everyone, and it’s also not the easiest way to travel, BUT, if you’re as broke as a bad joke, and you want to travel, looks like you’ve got no choice right?
So how’s it done?
First, take all the courage you have, ask your mother, brother, uncle, friends and grandma for some extra if you want. (If you have none of the above, my condolences, send us an email and we’ll send some courage your way.)
Save up a small amount of money so that you have some emergency cash (if you want something to fall back on, just in case.) Pick a cheap destination and go!
Now that you’re at said location talk to people. Ask business owners if there’s anything you can do for them for a meal, some food, or some accommodation. Most importantly have faith in yourself and in others. There are countless good-hearted people in the world that will help you live your dream of traveling.
If you’re good at planning, you can actually do all of this before arriving to your destination. There’s this thing called WWOOFING where you work on a farm in exchange for food and accommodation. You’re not working 24/7 so you’ll have time to explore the country as long as you live up to your end of the deal (will vary depending where you end up).
Now, if you’re not flat broke, you can use the trading method to just save some cash along the road and travel longer. By offering to trade you can cut many costs and since you have a bit of cash saved up, you don’t really have anything to lose if you’re rejected.
Use What You Got:
If you’re good at a special craft, use that to your advantage.
Have you been weightlifting or are simply in really good shape? Be a personal trainer at a gym, or do manual labor. Are you great at creating things? Comb the beaches and make necklaces, earrings, pendants, anything you can come up with to trade for meals, money or anything else.
Are you good at managing? Offer to manage a tour company, small business or anything you can think of. Start by exchanging work for food and accommodation.
Whatever it is that you have, use it to your advantage. People need people like you everywhere in the world. If you feel you’re good at nothing, start with manual labor or behind-the-counter job.
While in the Dominican Republic I took 100 USD and went traveling the island. All I had was a backpack and 100 dollars. It lasted me a week and I went paragliding, horseback riding, hiking and ate all kinds of delicious food.
While traveling Mexico I traded some manual labor for almost a week of free accommodation. That would of cost us around 50 USD. If you remember my last paragraph I traveled half a week, full of expeditions and fun, on that amount of cash.
Just recently we also traded some photography for a free grey whale watching tour and night of camping. That was over 100 USD of savings right there!
We also traded a rope light for two Mexican hats.
Why Trading Instead of Paying is Awesome:
It actually builds a relationship with the people. You’ll get some puzzled looks, but you’ll also get people jumping on the chance to have some kind-of-free help.
- You’ll learn a lot more about the culture of the place that you decided to visit because you’ll be around the locals and will be doing what they do.
- You’ll gain experience doing things you probably don’t know how to do, or get better at things you already know.
- You’ll gain the respect of the locals and they’ll show you things they wouldn’t normally show foreigners. (like a secret oyster spot where you’ll have a feast of fresh oysters and a lesson on how to open and clean them, free of charge. Yup. That happened.)
- You’ll build courage and people skills.
- You’ll learn to negotiate.
- You’ll save a bunch of money!!
Tips for Traveling This Way:
Here are a few tips to get you on you’re way, but with a little practice you’ll be adding you own skills to this list in no time.
- Have a general idea of what you want to do where you’re going.
- Leave anything and everything of value at home.
- Pack EXTREMELY light. Only the bare essentials. Bring one small backpack and a tent.
- Learn the local language.
- Plan ahead, learn the area where you decide to go.
- Buy a map of the part of the country you’ll be in.
I’ll be doing another 100 USD challenge in Mexico and will be putting trading into full effect, so stay tuned for that as I will be doing a post on it and adding anything I learn to this post.
If you have any questions feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below and I’ll answer all questions, comments or concerns you may have.